Pa.’s pre-existing condition insurance pool gets a flood of applicants

    The state’s high risk insurance program, meant to provide coverage until new federal rules kick in, got a rush of applicants in its first day of operation.

    Pennsylvania’s Insurance Department received more than a thousand requests to enter its new high-risk insurance pool during the first 24 hours of its application window.

    About 1100 applications have already been filed for the state’s new insurance plan targeted at people with preexisting health conditions. Insurance Department spokeswoman Melissa Fox says that’s about a third of the program’s 3500 person cap.

    “The limitation on enrollment is based simply on the fact that we are receiving $162 million from the federal government,” she says. “The 162-million, when we look at the benefit package, will only be able to cover approximately 3500 individuals.

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    The money will cover a three-year stretch. Fox says the program is meant to serve as a bridge until 2014, when the new federal health care law goes into effect.

    The legislation bars insurance companies from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions. The plan has a monthly co-pay of 283 dollars.

    The Insurance Department is accepting applications at the website

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